Pico is a programming language developed at the PROG lab at the dutch-speaking Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB). The language was created to introduce the essentials of programming to non computer science students. While designing Pico, the PROG lab was inspired by the Abelson and Sussman's book "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs". Furthermore they were influenced by the teaching of programming at high school or academic level.

Pico can be seen as an effort to generate a palatable and enjoyable language for people who don't want to study hard for the elegance and power of a language. They've done it by adapting Scheme's syntax and semantics.

Pico should be interpreted as 'small', the idea was to create a small language for educational purposes.

Table of contents
1 Language Elements
2 Code Snippets
3 Implementations
4 External links

Language Elements


Comments are surrounded by a
backquote (`).


Variables are dynamically typed, pico uses a static scope.
var: value


Functions are first-class objects in Pico. They can be assigned to variables. For example a function with two arguments arg1 and arg2 can be defined as
func(arg1, arg2): ...

Functions can be called with the following syntax:
func(value1, value2)


Operators can be used as prefix or infix in Pico:
+(5, 2)
5 + 2

Data Types

Pico has the following types:
string, integer, real and tables.

It does not have a native char type, so users should resort to size 1 strings.

Tables are compound datastructures that may contain any of the regular datatypes.

Boolean types are represented by functions, in the same way as lambda calculus does.

Control Structures

Conditional Evaluation

Only the usual if statement is included
if(condition, then, else)

Code Snippets

display('Hello World', eoln)

max(a, b): if(a < b, b, a)


External links